From the New Orleans' French Quarter to a women's prison, Southern Baptists will present the gospel throughout New Orleans June 8 before they venture to the SuperDome to conduct business.
Known as Crossover, the witnessing effort that precedes the SBC annual meeting has become a multi-faceted evangelism blitz. "This is an opportunity to reach thousands for Christ in a single day," said HMB's Don Smith. "Not many times in your life do you get the opportunity to do that."
The Greater New Orleans Baptist Association covers five parishes, or counties, with 1.2 million people, said associational missionary Fred Dyess. Only three percent of residents are Southern Baptists. Currently the association has more missions (83) than constituted churches (65). Only 29 of the churches have more than 100 in Sunday School, and none of them have 1,000 in Sunday School, Dyess said.
With so many new and small congregations, Crossover New Orleans "could really be a boost" to area churches, said Louisiana evangelism director Wayne Jenkins.
Crossover New Orleans will include block parties, door-to-door witnessing and street evangelism. Each activity is designed to present the gospel and discover prospects for local churches. During block parties, churches offer free food and entertainment to attract local residents. Door-to-door activities involve teams of two asking residents about their religious beliefs and sharing the plan of salvation. Street evangelism includes performers such as chalk artists and puppet teams who share the gospel through their art. Dyess noted that New Orleans is especially suited to street evangelism because sidewalk artists are popular there.
Southern Baptists can participate as individuals, a group from one church or a group from several churches, Jenkins said. Goals for Crossover New Orleans include evangelism, witness training and church starting. "We really hope to get the gospel to literally thousands of people and that out of that a large number will come to know Christ," Jenkins said. He added that he hopes two churches will be started from prospects discovered during Crossover.
Most Crossover New Orleans events will take place Saturday, June 8, with volunteer training on Friday, June 7. To register to participate, call the Louisiana Baptist Convention evangelism office at (318) 448-3402.